The team has high hopes for rallycross rookie Bryce Menzies (LEFT), the just-announced driver who will pilot a Dodge Dart with Pastrana Racing for the full 2013 season.
“Bryce is a thinker, a modern-style driver, and he's smooth; and we've got Travis, who we all know is Travis,” observed Davies. “The two compliment each other when you have them working together.
Menzies is an off-road racer who debuted under the microscope of the high-profile X Games Los Angeles as teammate to Pastrana in 2012. He returned to the team for the final round in Las Vegas last fall as a substitute for Pastrana, who was forced to sit out due to a shoulder surgery. With little pre-competition testing, Menzies showed he was able to wheel the car, but he didn't make the final in either of his races and he says he's still climbing a steep learning curve.
He has the credentials to succeed. Since he started racing off-road buggies six years ago, the 25-year-old Menzies progressed rapidly to the top of his sport, amassing an impressive trophy collection along the way. He enters the 2013 season defending back-to-back TORC championships in the short-course off-road series' Pro-2 category, for highly modified rear-wheel drive trucks. He is also a threat in desert racing with the 2011 SCORE Trophy Truck Championship title to his credit, along with multiple top finishes. Rallycross and off-road campaigns mean he's got a busy season ahead of him, and he says he's looking forward to the challenge of learning his new discipline.
“It's definitely a different style of driving,” said Menzies. “I'm used to racing side by side and bumping, but cars are more fragile than the trucks. In short course, fenders and fiberglass flies off, in rallycross stuff breaks.”
Once he adapts from the huge-travel, soft-suspension rear-wheel-drive trucks to his lower, stiffer, all-wheel-drive machine, his years of door-to-door experience should leave him well prepared for the full-contact nature of rallycross. Plus, his expertise on loose surfaces should benefit him on the dirt – of which there should be plenty this season. Organizers have just confirmed that the course for the first round, in Brazil, is 90 percent dirt. The mix is generally closer to 60 percent pavement and 40 percent dirt, and the 2012 configurations were tight and asphalt-heavy.
Pastrana, who learned to race rally cars on the way to four back-to-back Rally America championships between 2006 and 2009, is also looking forward to mixing it up on loose-surface tracks. “I'm pumped we get a lot of dirt this year,” said Pastrana. “The car was built for dirt and jumps.”
Pastrana is the most celebrated freestyle motocross rider in the world and a stunt performer whose antics provoke inevitable comparisons to Evel Knievel. He's been unforgettable since he hucked his bike into San Francisco Bay to celebrate his first X Games gold medal win in 1999, at age 15. For his Nitro Circus DVDs and TV shows, he has jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, back-flipped a motorcycle off the edge of the Grand Canyon (that time, with a parachute) and skimmed a motorcycle across the surface of a swimming pool – all just for kicks.
After countless injuries on two wheels, he moved to car racing in the form of rally competition in 2003, calling it safer: “action sport with a roll cage.” After dominating the Rally America championship, he stepped away from regular off-road competition and began eyeing NASCAR. He started his first full season of Nationwide Series competition in February with a top-10 result at Daytona, and is intent on improving at every round. He will compete in three of the four X Games rallycross competitions in 2013 (Brazil, Barcelona, and Los Angeles) and as many regular-season races as he can without missing events in the packed Nationwide schedule that is his primary focus. The two rallycross rounds set after September could be a question mark as well: he and his wife are expecting their first child this fall.
Pastrana says both he and Menzies have the advantage of seat time this season. “Any time you're in a car – in a vehicle, in a truck, in a go-kart – it all helps,” he said. “You learn something every time you're driving. Even on a motorcycle, a lot of that experience crosses over quickly.”
Ultimately, though, the 2013 season is going to be about battling flat-out in a series with new courses and configurations, where nobody has a home-track advantage. With continued vehicle development and the right attitude, predicts Pastrana, the championship is within reach.
“These cars are built to go very aggressively and on the edge,” said Pastrana “That's what's fun about rallycross. It's not a patience game. It's not waiting game. It's how fast can you react and get the power to the ground.”
2013 Red Bull Discount Tire Dodge Dart - Pastrana Racing
Rallycross cars are some of the most versatile racers in the world. All-wheel-drive and fast on both dirt and pavement, they are powerful, honest machines built from production models and designed with an upright stance to maximize traction on standing-start launches: they accelerate from 0-60 in under two seconds. Cooling is rear-mounted, to reduce the risk of blockage and overheating in tight, pack racing on dirt and mud. Traction control is forbidden under the rules, although cars feature launch control and turbo antilag. Two-liter engines produce 600 horsepower and very high boost.
- Power: 600 hp
- Torque: 590 ft-lb
- Boost: 45 psi
- Weight: 2,900 lbs (with driver)
- Engine: Mountune-built two-liter, transverse
- Turbo: Garrett; 45 mm restrictor (required by the rules)
- ECU: Cosworth
- Transmission: Sadev 6-speed sequential
- Suspension: Threeway adjustable
- Wheels: KMC Wheels
- Brakes: Alcon 6-piston caliper, front; Alcon 6-piston caliper rear
- Handbrake: Sadev hydraulic
- Exterior: Custom carbon and Kevlar body panels
- Digital instruments: Cosworth
- Cooling: PWR rear-mounted radiator and intercooler
- Safety: Custom roll cage built to FIA specs; Sparco seats, belts
You can follow on Twitter… Travis Pastrana at @TravisPastrana, Bryce Menzies at
@BryceMenzies7, and the SRT Viper GTS-R team at @teamSRT. And check out all SRT street and race news at @teamSRT.
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